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Storms Of My Grandchildren

Storms of My Grandchildren

In truth, Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity written by James Hansen, describes the real life problems of global warming through science, economics, and as a member of the human race. James Hansen is a relevant author on this subject as is he is known as the “father of global warming” due to him giving early warning signs to global warming back in the 1980’s. He is also a former NASA scientist and climatologist. 30 years ago, Dr. Hansen told a Senate committee that the greenhouse effect has been detected and is changing our climate now. In this book, Hansen establishes the view that we need to take immediate action to control greenhouse gases, in order to prevent a world disaster. He uses pictures of his grandchildren and evidently shows his concern for them. My take on the book was that we need to make drastic changes in our environment because there is so much evidence pointing towards global warming and the danger of it.

The author of this book is one of the world’s most eminent climatologists. His book points at the dangers that climate change poses. The title, Storms of My Grandchildren, is referring to Hansen’s prediction of a dangerous, warm future. Dr. Hansen shows key concerns such as the Censorship of Climate Change Science being influenced by coal and oil. In 1988, he testified before Congress that he was nearly 100% positive that our climate was warming due to human-caused greenhouse gases. The Bush administration attempted to silence him by altering Hansen’s written testimony. He exposed them on their censorship which caused a public uproar.

Hansen paints an alarming picture of sea level rises, which he seems to be most worried about. He explains that if sea levels continue to rise at rates they’ve been before, almost all of Florida, Bangladesh, and the European lowlands would submerge. If all of earths ice melted, the sea level would rise 75 meters, flooding many coastal cities around the world. Hansen makes it clear that all of us, especially young people, need to get involved to save us from what could occur from climate change continuing. It really makes us think on what world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren.

Hansen uses scientific evidence from research to predict what needs to occur for us to be sustainable. For example, he says “During the past few years, however, it has become clear that 387 ppm (CO2) is already in the dangerous range. It’s crucial that we immediately recognize the need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to at most 350 ppm in order to avoid disasters for coming generations” (9). He makes it clear that our global temperature has been rising at the rate we are at and changes need to be made in our CO2 emissions. He provides examples such as coral, polar bears, and frogs who are species being hit hard by climate change. Dr. Hansen also states “The sea level could soon be up to five meters higher than it is today by the later part of this century, unless greenhouse gases aren’t radically slashed” (45). Hansen is in his later years and knows he won’t be around to see this but he expresses that if we don’t immediately change things, then that is the Earth we are leaving for his grandchildren. He is doing this because he has clear evidence that we need to change and isn’t a man to sit around and watch nothing changing to prevent this.

The reason Dr. Hansen struggles in getting his message across to the government is that the cheapest sources of energy, such as coal and oil, are the ones they want to use until they run out. Hansen simply explains that the reason fossil fuels are the main source of energy is “They are the cheapest energy. This is because of their excellent energy density and our energy infrastructure that has grown up around fossil fuels” (108). He understands that fossil fuels are very efficient, highly concentrated energy. He also knows their effect on our earth, so he provides a solution to change our ways. The solution Hansen provides makes sense but it has its flaws. He shares a program called fee-and dividend which essentially means “making carbon-free energies, such as solar/wind energy, cheaper than fossil fuels. As time goes on, fossil fuel use would collapse, and we would have adapted to using clean energy for a sustainable future” (114). Yes, this program would work in changing over to clean, sustainable energy. But, energy prices would increase to much to a point where many people would be unable to afford it causing many issues.

All in all, I think the book was a great representation of the real life problem we are all facing and the changes we can make to prevent it from getting too bad. It really made me think about how our actions are going to effect the generations behind us. Dr. Hansen is a brilliant scientist who needs his voice heard because he really does know what he is talking about. The science behind his claims is not something anybody can look past. I highly recommend this book due to its presentation of real life issues and why they need to be fixed in order to save our Earth.